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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg dismisses Magnussen claim: 'He was fighting for himself'

Nico Hulkenberg has waved off team-mate Kevin Magnussen's claims of racking up time penalties in Miami to help Haas.

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Nico Hulkenberg disagrees with Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen's assertion that he was playing the team game when racking up penalties during the Miami Grand Prix sprint.

With the German driver ahead, in seventh and on for two points, Magnussen in eighth employed robust defensive tactics to keep Lewis Hamilton and Yuki Tsunoda behind. 

Whilst the 31-year-old did eventually fall back, his time penalty-inducing driving standards allowed Hulkenberg to create a gap to the group behind, who held on to claim those two points.

Magnussen said afterwards that his punishments were deserved, and that whilst he did not like racing in that manner, he was doing it for the team. However, Hulkenberg sees it differently, suggesting the Danish driver's motives were more self-centred.

"That's where I disagree a little bit," Hulkenberg told media at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when RacingNews365 brought up Magnussen's defensive techniques from Miami.

"Because at that point, I was already well ahead, and I would have secured my position - I had it saved anyway.

"I think it was more he was still fighting for himself personally for that one point. So I think you have to separate that a little bit, too"

'I try to stay away from' penalty points saga

Magnussen now finds himself precariously close to a race ban, having accrued 10 FIA super licence penalty points already this season. 

Six of those points given have been in defence of Hulkenberg, according to Magnussen, and if he reaches 12 within a 12-month period, he will have to sit out a round.

His team-mate, however, has not given the system a great deal of thought, but did ponder whether a maximum of 12 points over a year might be too much.

"I try to stay away from it," the 36-year-old said. "It's busy enough as it is, but it's quite long until they [the penalty points] get erased, right? I think we could revisit some of it and probably restructure."

Whilst many have observed an uptick in penalties this season amid greater scrutiny from the stewards, Hulkenberg wagered that it tends to fluctuate year-to-year, but highlighted how he tries to not lose focus by dwelling on such matters.

"I think if you look at the past, some years, it felt like it was more lenient and they [the stewards] just let us race. Then some years, it felt a bit tighter," he replied to RacingNews365 when asked about whether he feels the officiating has been harsher in 2024.

"But yeah, now recently, I also see 'under investigation' quite often, but it's not always that there is action. 

"So again, you try to stay away from incidents, you try to stay clear as a driver and clean, so that you're not losing energy and focus with these kinds of subjects."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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